Local food writer Matt Colangelo recently traveled to Kentucky to research a series of lawsuits addressing the problem of baudoinia, a black fungus that forms near where distilleries store their barrels of whiskey to age. Although the fungus does not appear to be directly harmful to the health of humans, the black layer that collects on houses (and the constant battle to scrub it away) has been purported to lead to serious declines in property values in areas around some of Kentucky's largest distilleries. (The fungus thrives on surfaces exposed to ethanol that escapes into the air around distilleries, critics say.)
In his piece for the Munchies website (the food-related site from VICE), Colangelo reports that residents have filed class-action lawsuits against several major whiskey producers claiming negligence for not installing expensive thermal oxidizers that would scrub the ethanol out of the air as the barrels outgas during aging.
Well, they quietly turned on the neon "Open" sign on Friday. The man behind the project, retail wine veteran Ed Fryer, says they're still deep in the process of stocking the store, but the team decided to go ahead and open the doors to serve folks who are looking for wine for Thanksgiving.
I wandered in there today, and it looks like there are some goodies in the house, even if the shelves aren't fully stocked.
There's also a friendly face behind the counter: Ernie Paquette, husband of chef Deb Paquette — he's a great source for wine knowledge, including bargains. (Not only did he help his wife run the late beloved restaurant Zola, he helped launch Iroquois wine store in Bellevue before leaving that project a while back.)
What it is: Chocolate-Covered Swedish Fish
Where I found it: Sugar Dive, $12/lb.
What it tastes like: It wasn't until visiting Sugar Dive, the new-as-of-this-summer candy shop in Green Hills, that I learned that chocolate-covered Swedish Fish were a thing. Where have they been hiding? How did this not happen sooner? We've been chocolate-covering gummy bears for years (and marketing them as Dinglebearies, which is disgusting), and only now has someone figured out to do the same to Swedish Fish, the most delicious, most addictive candy to ever exist?
I was trying to figure out exactly how to describe the greatness, the weirdness that is eating a chocolate-covered Swedish Fish, but as I nibbled and chewed and thought, Scene art director and fellow Swedish Fish fanatic Elizabeth Jones nailed it: "It's like eating a chocolate bunny with a handful of jellybeans." Indeed it is. And it's glorious.
Thistle Farms Tea Survival Kit — Thistle Farms, a Nashville-based organization, helps women who have been involved in prostitution, trafficking and addiction make the transition into healthy lives. The Tea Survival Kit helps women in other countries by supporting their enterprises, as well. It’s a perfect gift with for a tea lover with a little bit of heart, too.
Trampetti Olive Oil — I told you a little bit about Trampetti back in September. I have a bottle at home that is truly very good. I highly recommend it for any food lover. It’s available at Coco’s Italian Market as well as Lazzaroli Pasta Shop.
Teas and Spices — Nashville has a number of tea and spice shops that can help you buy great, unique gifts. Savory Spice Shop in Franklin has a number of gift boxes of seasonings, for example. Stardust Tea and Spices in West Nashville also has a number of great gifts, as does High Garden in East Nashville. Also, be sure to keep an eye out in local stores for spice blends from East Nashville Spice Company and J.M. Thomason. J.M. Thomason is a local company that’s been providing spices and seasonings for restaurants for years and is now offering them to the public. Check out the Nashville Hot Chicken blend for a great gift idea.
The event will kick off on Friday, Dec. 5, with a chefs' dinner at Vanderbilt's Dyer Observatory, with a reception and a meal, plus musical entertainment by Beth Nielsen Chapman and Will Kimbrough. The participating chefs include: Andy Manchester, executive pastry chef at the Omni Hotel; Guerry McComas, executive chef of Nashville Restaurant Group; Jeremy Barlow, owner of Sloco and author of Chefs Can Save the World; Kristin Beringson, executive chef at City Winery Nashville; Laura Wilson, executive chef of the Grow Local Kitchen in the Nashville Farmers' Market; and Richard Jones, executive chef at Green Door Gourmet.
The Nashville Farmers' Market, The Picnic Tap, B&C BBQ and the Nashville Wine Auction are joining together to present what should be a really fun event on Tuesday, Dec. 2 to help support Stephanie's Fight, a fund created by Blackstone Brewing Co.'s Kent Taylor to commemorate his late brewery co-founder Stephanie Weins and help fund lung cancer research.
If that cause sounds familiar, it was also the beneficiary of a hugely successful event at the Nashville Farmers' Market last weekend, as beer enthusiasts and brewers came together to celebrate the release of Stephanie's Dubbel, a special beer brewed to raise funds for the charity. In addition to the new limited-edition Blackstone beer, which you'll still be able to buy at various retail outlets around town to continue to benefit the fund, almost every local brewer was on hand to pay tribute to Weins and help out the effort. There were even a few bottles of earlier editions of the brew from as far back as 2002 being passed around to see how well it has aged. The bottle I bought won't survive Thanksgiving, though.
To keep the momentum rolling for the fund, I'm working with the sponsors of this event to throw a little party on Dec. 2 at the market, where I'll be selling and signing copies of my two latest books, The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig and Nashville Beer: A Heady History of Music City Brewing from 5 until 8 p.m. The Picnic Tap and B&C BBQ will be staying open late for shoppers to buy a beer or two and a sandwich at the event, and a portion of the book and beer proceeds will go toward Stephanie's Fight.
The chefs they have chosen to feature are definitely a group of local favorites, and they should give those city folks a great taste of Nashville cuisine. Chef Tandy Wilson of City House and his pastry specialist Rebekah Turshen will lead the brigade with their version of rustic Italian cooking made primarily from traditional Southern ingredients. Pitmaster Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker will bring some humor and soul to the menu with his brand of West Tennessee barbecue. I'd love to watch some New Yorkers' eyebrows raise when they see "Memphis Sushi" listed as an opening salvo at dinner, but they'll experience an upscale version of the dish, with Calabrian Sausage and Bringle's Peg Leg Porker Pimento Cheese on Olive Oil Crackers.
Music City is also sending some of our best beverages; Yazoo will provide samples of their Hop Project No. 80, and Darek Bell and Austin Reese of Corsair will be mixing up cocktails featuring their innovative spirits. The accompanying wines are dominated by Italian wineries in a nod to the excellent list at City House, so this meal should be like the ultimate Sunday Supper at Tandy's place.
If you find yourself in New York City on Dec. 8, you can still make reservations at the event website. Alternately, I discovered during Pat Martin's recent stint cooking at the James Beard House that you can watch all the action on three different webcams focused on the kitchen, stove and prep line.
Abby White: "I had one of my favorite sandwiches/hangover remedies at Table 3 yesterday: the Turkey and Avocado, a glorious pile of the aforementioned ingredients plus bacon, Boursin cheese and blackberry mustard on white bread. Yes, white bread. Hooray for carbohydrates! And that bread must be soaked in butter before they grill it or toast it or do whatever sorcery happens back in the kitchen, because it’s perfectly golden, crunchy yet moist (yes, I said moist), and the Boursin cheese is all snuggled up to it, a delicious, cheesy security blanket for tired livers. Oh, and I threw a fried egg on, because WHY NOT, and got a side of pommes frites (served with mayo AND ketchup, proper) because they are so much fancier than french fries. Freedom fries. Whatever we’re calling them nowadays."
Jackalope won the award at the first iteration of the festival; this year's lucky winner was Black Abbey Brewing Company. And we can all enjoy the benefits of their prize. During the current home stand, Black Abbey beer will be available on tap at the games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. They'll be pouring at the stand outside of Section 106, vastly improving the beer selection in Bridgestone Arena.
As a bonus, the Predators are offering discounted tickets to the games to watch the Predators hopefully continue their hot streak while enjoying a selection of great craft brews. To get your cheap seats, visit nashvillepredators.com/blackabbey and use the promo code "blackabbey." This is one of the only acceptable opportunities to have your beer on ice!
Turkey is notoriously challenging: Roast it thoroughly enough that the dark meat is ready, and the breast is probably dry. So people have developed all kinds of clever strategies.
Many people brine the turkey, allowing the brining solution to moisten the meat. Some people swear by the deep-fried turkey, but that process can be a hassle. Some folks simply break down the turkey into separate parts, allowing the heat to circulate equally.
Good luck with the new venture Ed!
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